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Thinking about the forest ;t without delaying the protection of the caribou

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Consultations within the framework of the Table on the reflection of the future of the forest will be launched at the beginning of February. (Archive photo)

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The Table for reflection on the future of the forest should not be an excuse to postpone the implementation of measures to ensure the survival of the Gaspésie caribou herd, according to a specialist.

Quebec must launch consultations at the beginning of February within the framework of this table, an initiative of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, Maïté Blanchette Vézina.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">We can expect that, in the wake of what is to come, there will still be reflections and discussions on what we would do well with caribou, fears Martin-Hugues Saint-Laurent, professor of forest ecology at the University of Quebec at Rimouski.

Each time the government adds a consultation on this subject, It's time wasted to implement measures to protect the species, he said, citing the numerous postponements by Quebec of the publication of the caribou protection strategy since its announcement in 2019.< /p>

He recalls that there is a scientific consensus on the actions to be taken to avoid the disappearance of the Gaspésie caribou, of which only around thirty individuals remain alive.

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During this time, we are completely failing to respect the ethical, moral and legislative commitments we have made. We are not respecting the international biodiversity conventions that we have signed, explains the scientist.

We do not respect, above all, the intelligence of the population given the phenomenal amount of scientific information available to us.

A quote from Martin-Hugues Saint-Laurent, professor of forest ecology at the University of Quebec at Rimouski

The Regional Council of ;environment du Bas-Saint-Laurent (CREBSL) hopes that the Quebec government will take greater account of the multiple uses of the forest in the next forest regime.

Marie-Hélène Ouellet D'Amours, biologist at CREBSL, points out that there are other uses of the public forest than commercial timber harvesting: uses that are just as important.

It's a social choice, to exploit the forest to the limits, without really keeping any real room for maneuver, he explains -elle.

We expect more listening compared to issues such as climate change and biodiversity.

A quote from Marie-Hélène Ouellet D'Amours, biologist at the Bas-Saint-Laurent Regional Environmental Council.

On her side , Martin-Hugues Saint-Laurent underlines that the Law on sustainable development of sustainable forest land is not applied in its primary spirit.

He too notes a priority allocation of forest resources to industry, something that several organizations have already denounced.

Marie-Hélène Ouellet #x27;Amours also maintains that the delay in disclosing the caribou protection strategy causes problems in terms of planning forestry operations and supplying factories.

Put yourself in the shoes of, for example, a factory manager. It is difficult to have long-term risk management, we do not have the information that will allow us to plan in the long term, she indicates.

More actions are needed to put an end to the rejuvenation of the Gaspésie boreal forest, believes the Gaspésie Regional Environmental Council.

The rejuvenation of forests is particularly detrimental to the survival of the Gaspésie caribou, which makes old-growth forests its habitat and on which it feeds.

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The Bas-Saint-Laurent Regional Environmental Council (CREBSL) hopes that the Quebec government will take greater account of the multiple uses of the forest in the next forest regime. (File photo)

It is necessary to protect old-growth forests, for example by stopping total felling which promotes forest regeneration, but does not preserve caribou habitat, says Mia Larochelle, biologist and project manager at the Regional Council of #x27;environment of Gaspésie.

By making total cuts, we allow the regeneration of new forests which are good habitats for coyotes, bears, and therefore for caribou predators , but not for caribou as such, explains the one who specializes in biodiversity issues and protected areas.

This is an observation that Martin-Hugues Saint-Laurent partly shares. For him, it is imperative to change forestry practices in the boreal forest, for example by exploiting smaller areas, in a less recurrent manner and without systematizing the use of total felling, without abandoning them completely.

The Bas-Saint-Laurent Regional Environmental Council also notes a rejuvenation of the boreal forest in the east of the Lower Laurentian territory, as highlighted in a study by the Center for x27;study of the forest published last December.

Marie-Hélène Ouellet D'Amours does not point the finger at the forestry industry , which only follows the forest planning determined by the Chief Forester from Quebec, according to her.

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